Another Bush Lie: Everyone Thought Iraq Had WMD
We have heard it many times from Bush and his people. I have heard it echoed by conservatives posting to this site and others.
Bush, Cheney and their administration said that Iraq had WMD. That’s been proven false, so they have to defend their saying it. Their defense is yet another lie, a lie by insinuation: that Bush was not out of line about his Iraqi WMD claims because everyone, including Clinton and the U.N., also believed that Iraq had WMD.
That claim is a lie because it attempts to make equal Bush and Clinton and the U.N., when in fact they were as different as night and day.
Yes, Clinton and the U.N. believed that Iraq had WMD. The difference, however, is in degree.
Clinton and the U.N. believed that Hussein had some weapons of mass destruction, in the form of limited stockpiles of chemical and perhaps some biological weapons. But they did not believe them to be an immediate threat, and did not believe they would leave the country; they believed, in short, that Hussein was contained and could continue to be contained.
That is light-years away from what Bush was pushing:
1. Bush and his people claimed that Hussein had massive stockpiles of WMD (Bush: “This is a massive stockpile of biological weapons that has never been accounted for, and capable of killing millions.” Rumsfeld: “He’s amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons“), far more than Clinton or the U.N. ever believed.
2. Furthermore, Bush and Cheney strenuously asserted that Hussein was six months away from completing a nuclear weapon, or possibly had developed one already. (Bush on a fictional 1998 IAEA report: “…a report came out of the . . . IAEA, that they [Iraqis] were six months away from developing a weapon. I don’t know what more evidence we need.” Cheney: “On the nuclear question, many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire such weapons fairly soon.”) The fact is, neither Clinton nor the U.N. believed that Hussein had a nuclear program that was anywhere close to developing nukes, nor did they ever claim that Hussein was buying uranium or using aluminum tubes for his nuclear program.
3. Bush also claimed that Hussein had ties with al Qaeda (Cheney continues with that claim to this day), and that Hussein, who jealously guarded his resources and did not share with anyone, would readily hand over nukes to al Qaeda. (Bush: “Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof – the smoking gun – that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud,” “Saddam Hussein . . . is moving ever closer to developing a nuclear weapon,” and “The regime . . . has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda. The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.”) Neither Clinton nor the U.N. believed that Hussein was in league with al Qaeda, or that Hussein would share any of his weapons with them. They were aware that Hussein and al Qaeda were religiously and ideologically at odds, that they hated each other, and were not in alliance.
So, to say that Bush was not out of line to make his claims because Clinton and the U.N. believed the same is outrageous, a deliberate attempt to mislead. Don’t believe a word.
(All non-attributed quotes were provided by Iraq on the Record.)